How Should I Compare Job Salaries?

Job salaries are an important consideration when career planning or choosing between job positions. But raw numbers don't always tell the full story, so it's important to consider many other factors when comparing job salaries. Continue reading to learn more about where to find salary information.

Comparing Job Salaries in the Same Field

When comparing multiple offers within a single career field, one should first determine the average salary for that position. This information can be obtained from many sources, including governmental agencies and private companies. These sites can also provide other important information, such as the education requirements and job outlook for a selected profession.

Sample Salary Comparison for Graphic Designers

Web Site Median Annual Median Hourly Mean Annual $52,357 $25 N/A $40,666 $15 $39,121
BLS $45,900 $22.07 $50,670

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

The federally run U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a division of the U.S. Department of Labor. The BLS publishes occupational employment statistics online that tell the national mean and median salaries for a given career field, and this information may also be narrowed down to a state or metropolitan area. The BLS also publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), a guide that details the job outlook, education requirements, necessary skills, and more for several professions.

A private company founded in 2002, is one of the foremost web sites when it comes to publishing salary statistics. The site gathers its data by allowing individual employees to submit their personal job and salary information. In addition to job information, Payscale is also known for its 'return on investment' rankings, a system that grades universities based on the cost of a degree as compared to the average earnings for graduates. is yet another option for professionals researching their job prospects. The site uses its Salary Wizard tool to give accurate, up-to-date income statistics. also provides information for Canadian users, allowing employees to compare salaries with international companies. For a fee, the site also produce salary reports, a comprehensive detailing of a chosen profession's salary information.

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